WICHITA FALLS, Tx (RNN Texoma) - Going away on summer vacation opens the door of opportunity for burglars targeting vacant homes.
Wichita Falls currently has had over 160 home burglaries this year. The Wichita Falls Police Department is helping residents avoid becoming victims by offering tips on how they can keep their homes secure.
Locking doors is just the first step. People should also make sure their hedges do not make a good hiding spot.
Sgt. Harold McClure recommends that hedges are lower than 6'0" and trees are higher than 6'0".
Sgt. McClure said timing indoor lights could help give the impression that a home is not empty, "Have a couple timers that go off at different times – so maybe the living room light comes on for a set amount of hours and all of a sudden it goes off and then another set…"
Downloading the Nextdoor app may also be helpful. It is like a social media site that shows updates on what is happening in a specific neighborhood.
The Wichita Falls Police Department is actively helping monitor homes as well with their vacation patrol. They will check on a residence while the home owner is away free of charge.
To sign up for vacation patrol visit WFPD's website and click the tab Vacation Patrol Check. It will go to a page where a homeowner can fill out information such as: who they are, their address, how long they will be gone, and if there are any vehicles that are going to be parked at the residence.
Sgt. McClure explained that there is a reason they need to know about vehicles in the driveway, "If the owner says there's supposed to be red Toyota in the driveway – if we get there and there's a red Toyota we don't think anything of it. However, if there's something different [it] raises some red flags."